Curt Flewelling, FISM News
Faith in God was the number one priority in Derek Carr’s home growing up. He was not allowed to play on traveling teams if games fell on a Sunday. On the podcast The High Note, Carr tells host Tauren Wells, “I was raised in the church. My grandpa was a pastor, my uncle was a pastor, my other grandpa was a deacon, my dad was a deacon, my mom’s a worship leader, my grandma is a pastor.”
With a family legacy like that, it’s infinitely easier to adhere to God’s fourth commandment, Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Particularly if you subscribe to His fifth commandment, Honor your father and mother. Neither were up for debate, according to Carr. “My mom and my dad taught me that my faith was number one.”
Church was very important to Rodger and Sheryl Carr, and they impressed that on their son at a very early age. Carr recalls, “If there was a game on Sunday, as a kid, we always told my traveling coach, ‘I’m not gonna be there, I’m gonna be at church.’ They made the priorities, the priorities.”
Stressing the need to put God first on Sunday, in a culture where coaches and teams routinely schedule practices and games on that day, may seem to be an antiquated notion. For those who feel that way, Carr has a message: “All you moms and dads that say, ‘No, we have to go to your games at eight years old,’ – you know, it’s okay to miss one.”
But isn’t it hypocritical for Carr to now partake in something that was forbidden to him years ago? Not exactly. He doesn’t have much of a choice as the NFL plays a very large percentage of its games on Sunday. In a world where many religions can’t even agree on which day is the Sabbath, there’s room for deference within the church on the issue.
Working out the faith/sports tension is nothing new. Even the incomparable Billy Graham went through an evolution of thought on this matter. The iconic preacher was once staunchly opposed to working on the Sabbath as he felt that it was not honoring the Lord’s day. However, as his ministry grew in popularity, Reverend Graham’s revivals were ironically held in sporting venues and featured prominent athletes who “worked” on Sunday.
Over the years he softened, saying, “We must not submit to a legalistic Christianity that is encumbered with commands and prohibitions.” He eventually came to the conclusion that the “Lord’s Day” debate became too divisive and could hinder the furtherance of the gospel.
Today, fewer believers are at odds over whether to work on the Sabbath. In fact, prominent Christian athletes have taken advantage of this phenomenon in order to further the Kingdom.
Carr is not alone in his belief that his platform can be effectively used to spread his faith. Quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, and Carson Wentz are all marquee players who are committed to putting Jesus Christ first in everything they do.